Categories
Past Productions

Victory Over The Sun

Victory over
the sun

Presented by Sydney Chamber Opera and the 20th Biennale of Sydney

In 1913, the Russian Futurists unleashed this dizzying piece of canonical apocrypha: a psychedelic proto-science fiction saga of time-travelling revolutionaries and singing weaponry, set against a backdrop that included an early draft of the avant-garde painter Malevich’s iconic Black Square. The text: untranslatable. The music: lost to history. Alongside Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring and Pirandello’s Six Characters in Search of an Author, it is one of the few artistic works whose premiere provoked a riot.

The 20th Biennale of Sydney brings together SCO and visionary Sydney artist Justene Williams to make a new Victory for the 21st century. The result is a masterwork of passionate strangeness for the digital age that shows us worlds the Futurists could never have imagined.

Drones soar, history collapses, and a pair of strongwomen battle over humanity’s fate in a glorious dream of tomorrow.

Welcome to the new future.

Image: Justene Williams, Your Boat My Scenic Personality of Space, 2012, video still. Courtesy the artist and Sarah Cottier Gallery, Sydney

Concept & Design
Justene Williams

Music
Huw Belling (after Mikhail Matyushin)

Writer-Director
Pierce Wilcox (after Aleksei Kruchonykh)

Musical Director
Jack Symonds

Lighting Design
Alexander Berlage

Singers
Jessica O’Donoghue
Sarah Toth
Mitchell Riley
Simon Lobelson

Actors
Hannah Cox
Danielle Maas
Eleni Schumacher

Instruments
James Wannan
Jane Bishop
Joe Manton
Jack Symonds

Gallery

VENUE

Cockatoo Island, Sydney
Building 15

duration

45 minutes

Press Reviews

TimeOut
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“The best thing at the Biennale”
RealTime
Read More
“brimming over with invention”
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We acknowledge the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation as the traditional custodians of the land on which we work and perform. We honour their elders both past and present, and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

© 2020 Sydney Chamber Opera | Site designed & built by Anderson Chang

Categories
Past Productions

Passion

PASSION

Australian premiere

Presented by Sydney Festival

Music by Pascal Dusapin
Libretto by Pascal Dusapin & Rita de Letteriis

World-renowned soloists Elise Caluwaerts and Wiard Witholt live out the doomed voyage of mythology’s greatest lovers in this staging by European icon Pierre Audi.

Passion is a 21st-century take on Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo from the leading French composer of his generation- Pascal Dusapin, renowned for his supple melodies, complex textures and mastery of the human voice.

Mise-en-espace
Pierre Audi

Conductor

Jack Symonds

Revival Director
Miranda Lakerveld

Lighting Design

Nicholas Rayment

Soloists
Elise Caluwaerts
Wiard Witholt

Vocal Ensemble
Jane Sheldon
Ellen Hooper
Anna Fraser
Andrew Goodwin
Mitchell Riley
Simon Lobelson

Instruments
Alex Norton
Thibaud Pavlovic-Hobba
James Wannan
Mee Na Lojewski
Jaan Pallandi
Jane Bishop
Ben Opie
Ngaire de Korte
Peter Smith
Susan Newsome
Jack Schiller
Michael Wray
Tristram Williams
Matthew Harrison
Genevieve Lang
Zubin Kanga
Jem Harding

These performances of Passion by Pascal Dusapin are given by permission of Hal Leonard Australia Pty Ltd, exclusive agents for Editions Salabert of Paris

Gallery

VENUE

City Recital Hall
2 Angel Pl, Sydney NSW 2000

duration

90 minutes

Press Reviews

Limelight
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“Such opportunities to catch challenging musical fare are to be applauded in these risk averse times”
RealTime
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“an engrossing introduction to a significant work”
Stagenoise
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“a thrilling ornament to the Sydney Festival…a wonderful next step for Sydney Chamber Opera”
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General Information

We acknowledge the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation as the traditional custodians of the land on which we work and perform. We honour their elders both past and present, and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

© 2020 Sydney Chamber Opera | Site designed & built by Anderson Chang

Categories
Past Productions

O Mensch!

O MENSCH!

Australian Premiere

In association with Sydney Festival

Music by Pascal Dusapin
Text by Friedrich Nietzsche

Restoring the voice to one of the mightiest minds in history, O Mensch! transforms 21 poems by Friedrich Nietzsche into a series of shattering musical declarations in French composer Pascal Dusapin’s intimate and inspired recent opera, and successor to Passion.

In a virtuoso performance by baritone and piano, audiences are plunged into the agonies and the ecstasies of this era-defining genius as fierce ideology collides with high emotion. A stark production directed by Sarah Giles and lit by lighting installation artist Katie Sfetkidis, O Mensch! features the indomitable baritone Mitchell Riley, who appeared in Sydney Chamber Opera’s …pas à pas – nulle parte… – for the 2014 Sydney Festival.

Director
Sarah Giles

Lighting & Set Design
Katie Sfetkidis

Costume Design
Charles Davis

Dramaturg

Dominic Mercer

Assistant Director
Danielle Maas

With
Mitchell Riley
Jack Symonds

Supported by
Goethe-Institut Australia 
Piano sponsored by Kawai Pianos Australia

Gallery

VENUE

Carriageworks
Track 8, 245 Wilson St Eveleigh

duration

60 minutes

Press Reviews

The Sydney Morning Herald
Read More
“a profound work…it exemplified that group’s ethos to perfection”
Bachtrack
Read More
“utterly compelling”
RealTime
Read More
“superbly integrated singing and acting”
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General Information

We acknowledge the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation as the traditional custodians of the land on which we work and perform. We honour their elders both past and present, and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

© 2020 Sydney Chamber Opera | Site designed & built by Anderson Chang

Categories
Past Productions

An Index of Metals

AN INDEX
OF METALS

Australian Premiere

Music by Fausto Romitelli
Text by Kenka Lekovich

Video by Paolo Pachini & Leonardo Romoli
In association with Ensemble Offspring’

Immerse yourself in a furnace of the senses. This is how cult Italian composer Fausto Romitelli described his final work An Index of Metals, an ‘electric poem’ that explodes the possibilities of the art form.

New music innovators Ensemble Offspring join forces with SCO to tackle a work inspired by everything from ancient initiation rites to rave parties. Director Kip Williams (STC’s Macbeth, SCO’s The Lighthouse) meets Romitelli’s challenge with his own bold aesthetic. Virtuoso soprano Jane Sheldon, last seen in the shattering Exil, returns to the stage to perform this fiercely modern Australian premiere.

NOTE: This performance contains nudity. It is not recommended for patrons under 16 years of age.

Conductor
Jack Symonds

Director
Kip Williams

Set & Costume Design
Elizabeth Gadsby

Sound Design
Bob Scott

Lighting Design
Ross Graham

Assistant Lighting Design
Alexander Berlage

Soprano
Jane Sheldon

Actors
Tom Burt
Christian Charisiou
Kevin Clayette
Blake Feltis
Richard Hilliar
Tom Mittelheuser

Instruments
Ensemble Offspring

Veronique Serret
James Wannan
Tyler J. Borden
Lamorna Nightingale
Ben Opie
Aviva Endean
Tristram Williams
Nigel Crocker
Joe Manton
Cat Hope
Zubin Kanga
Damien Ricketson

These performances of An Index of Metals by Fausto Romitelli are given by permission of Hal Leonard Australia Pty Ltd, exclusive agents for Casa Ricordi of Italy

Gallery

VENUE

Carriageworks
Bay 20, 245 Wilson St, Eveleigh

duration

55 minutes

Press Reviews

Limelight
Read More
“more than the sum of its parts and well worth the experience.”
The Australian
Read More
“A thrilling and visionary work”
The Sydney Morning Herald
Read More
“This is audacious, arresting and original work of the sort we have come to expect from these artists even as they retain the capacity to surprise”
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General Information

We acknowledge the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation as the traditional custodians of the land on which we work and perform. We honour their elders both past and present, and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

© 2020 Sydney Chamber Opera | Site designed & built by Anderson Chang

Categories
Past Productions

Fly Away Peter

FLY AWAY PETER

Presented by Sydney Chamber Opera, Carriageworks (Sydney) and Arts Centre Melbourne in association
with Melbourne Festival

Music by Elliott Gyger
Libretto by Pierce Wilcox

David Malouf’s novel Fly Away Peter is a contemporary classic. Elliott Gyger is an Australian composer at the height of his powers. They return to World War One in this centenary year to create a profound new contribution to Australian opera, with a libretto by SCO’s Pierce Wilcox.

Jim Saddler is a visionary young birdwatcher thrust into the nightmare of the Western Front. Fly Away Peter travels from a land of life to a panorama of horror through Jim’s voice of delicate insight.

This is a story of the Australian spirit that begins at peace, builds into tragedy, and ends in transcendence.

Conductor
Jack Symonds

Director
Imara Savage

Set & Costume Design
Elizabeth Gadsby

Lighting Design
Verity Hampson

Movement Director
Lucas Jervies

Singers
Mitchell Riley
Brenton Spiteri
Jessica Aszodi

Instruments (Sydney)
James Wannan
Jaan Pallandi
Peter Smith
Alison Evans
Rainer Saville
Matthew Harrison
Alison Pratt

Instruments (Melbourne)
James Wannan
Emma Sullivan
Lloyd Van’t Hoff
Matthew Kneale
Tristram Williams
Jessica Buzbee
Peter Neville

Sydney Chamber Opera wishes to acknowledge the donors who made Fly Away Peter possible

Executive Producer
Kim Williams AM

Producers
Martin Dickson
Hon Jane Mathews AO
Prof. Di Yerbury AO

Associate Producers
Andrew Andersons AO
William Brooks & Alasdair Beck,
David Catterns QC
Jennifer Solomon

Production Friends
Stephen Burley SC
Rowena Cowley
Terry Matthews
Wendy Michaels

Production Supporters
Jim Alexander
Roger Cruickshank
Tony Jones
Josephine Key
Robert Mitchell

Watch the show reel

Gallery

VENUES

Fairfax Studio, Arts Centre Melbourne
100 St Kilda Rd, Melbourne VIC 3004

Carriageworks
Bay 20, 245 Wilson St, Eveleigh

duration

70 minutes

Press Reviews

The Australian
Read More
“An impressive achievement”
Limelight
Read More
“An unqualified triumph”
The Sydney Morning Herald
Read More
“A work of beauty and meaning”
Bachtrack
Read More
“Memorable…An intense, symbol-rich reflection”
Crickey
Read More
“A work of dramatic and musical integrity”
TimeOut
Read More
“Uncompromising vision”
Australian Book Review
Read More
“Intelligence, imagination, and fidelity to the work [makes] great theatre”
Partial Durations
Read More
“A triumph for contemporary opera”
Concrete Playground
Read More
“Changing how we see opera”
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General Information

We acknowledge the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation as the traditional custodians of the land on which we work and perform. We honour their elders both past and present, and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

© 2020 Sydney Chamber Opera | Site designed & built by Anderson Chang

Categories
Past Productions

Mayakovsky

MAYAKOVSKY

World premiere
By Michael Smetanin & Alison Croggon

Vladimir Mayakovsky: poet, lover, revolutionary. Innovative Australian composer Michael Smetanin joins forces with award-winning writer and librettist Alison Croggon to tell the incendiary story of Stalin’s favourite poet.

Mayakovsky blends Russian Futurism with hypermodern electronica in a dizzying ride through the 20th century. Its epic canvas is populated by a parade of figures: lovers, apparatchiks, writers, radicals, and Uncle Joe Stalin himself. It begins with a voice from the future and ends in cataclysm. It is fierce, uncompromising, and strangely beautiful.

Sydney Chamber Opera’s world premiere production brings the pulsing energies of rebellion to the Carriageworks stage.

Conductor
Jack Symonds

Director
Kat Henry

Set & Costume Design
Hanna Sandgren

Lighting Design
Guy Harding

AV Design
Davros

With
Simon Lobelson
Jessica O’Donoghue
Sarah Toth
Lotte Betts-Dean
Mitchell Riley
Brenton Spiteri

Instruments
James Nightingale
Nicholas Russionello
Michael Wray
Michael Dixon
Rainer Saville
Matthew Harrison
Joe Manton
Stefania Kurniawan

Gallery

VENUE

Carriageworks
Bay 20, 245 Wilson St, Eveleigh

duration

95 minutes

Press Reviews

The Sydney Morning Herald
Read More
"Mayakovsky by Sydney Chamber Opera captures the manic anarchy of an unsustainable life"
Limelight
Read More
“Another feather in the cap…of one of Australia’s most adventurous opera companies”
The Australian
Read More
“Thrillingly theatrical”
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General Information

We acknowledge the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation as the traditional custodians of the land on which we work and perform. We honour their elders both past and present, and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

© 2020 Sydney Chamber Opera | Site designed & built by Anderson Chang

Categories
Past Productions

His Music Burns

HIS MUSIC BURNS

Australian premieres

A staged double bill

… pas à pas- nulle part… by György Kurtág
Into the Little Hill by George Benjamin

Appearing for the first time in the Sydney Festival, Sydney Chamber Opera is joined by Sydney Theatre Company resident director Sarah Giles to present a double bill of contemporary masterpieces.

György Kurtág’s musical meditation on a series of absurdist poems by Samuel Beckett, … pas à pas – nulle part …, transforms a single virtuosic performer into a whirlwind of energy.

Renowned playwright Martin Crimp warps the Pied Piper legend into a dark political tragedy, as George Benjamin’s dangerously beautiful score for Into the Little Hill lures the audience into a maze of sound and story.

Conductor
Jack Symonds

Director
Sarah Giles

Set & Costume Design
Katren Wood

Lighting Design
Matt Cox

Singers
Mitchell Riley
Ellen Hooper
Emily Edmonds

Instruments
Timothy Brigden
Rebecca Gill
Kelly Tang
James Wannan
Heather Lloyd
Mee Na Lojewski
Thomas Rann
Steven Adler
Jane Bishop
Peter Smith
Natascha Briger
Susan Newsome
Simon Wolnizer
Colin Grisdale
Matthew Harrison
Rebecca Lagos

These performances of … pas à pas- nulle part… Op 36 György Kurtág are given by permission of Hal Leonard Australia Pty Ltd, exclusive agents for Editions Musica Budapest of Budapest

These performances of Into the Little Hill by George Benjamin are given by permission of Hal Leonard Australia Pty Ltd, exclusive agents for Faber Music Ltd of London

Gallery

VENUE

Carriageworks
Bay 17, 245 Wilson St, Eveleigh

duration

70 minutes

Press Reviews

Backtrack
Read More
"Outstanding performances by Sydney Chamber Opera at Sydney Festival"
Limelight
Read More
“A masterclass in dramatic economy and cohesion”
The Sydney Morning Herald
Read More
“Again, Sydney Chamber Opera has presented important modern works with brilliant economy, clarity and utterly engaging directness”
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General Information

We acknowledge the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation as the traditional custodians of the land on which we work and perform. We honour their elders both past and present, and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

© 2020 Sydney Chamber Opera | Site designed & built by Anderson Chang

Categories
Past Productions

Exil

EXIL

Australian premiere

by Giya Kancheli

Internationally acclaimed soprano Jane Sheldon joins Sydney Chamber Opera to perform a transcendentally haunting monodrama, Exil. Contemporary Georgian composer Giya Kancheli originally conceived his 1994 song cycle as a concert work, not for the stage. A setting of Biblical Psalms alongside post-Holocaust poetry by Paul Celan and Hans Sahl, it is an abstract twentieth-century drama of the soul in the face of unspeakable horror.

Melbourne’s Adena Jacobs stunned audiences when she staged an adaptation of Ingmar Bergman’s Persona in 2012 for her company Fraught Outfit (restaged for Belvoir in August 2013) with The Monthly describing it as “stylishly austere, confronting and deeply intelligent.” Jacobs makes her music-lead theatre debut by staging Exil, creating a performance that is at once intimate and cosmic.

Conductor
Jack Symonds

Director
Adena Jacobs

Set & Costume Design
Eugyeene Teh

Lighting Design
Katie Sfetkidis

Soprano
Jane Sheldon

Instruments
Lucy Warren
Emma Jardine
James Wannan
Thomas Rann
Steven Adler
Jane Bishop

These performances of Exil by Giya Kancheli are given by permission of Hal Leonard Australia Pty Ltd, exclusive agents for Schott Music Ltd of Mainz

Gallery

VENUE

Carriageworks
Track 8, 245 Wilson St, Eveleigh

duration

60 minutes

Press Reviews

Limelight
Read More
“Once again Sydney Chamber Opera bring something important and rare to the stage, proving there’s plenty of life in the artform yet.”
Bachtrack
Read More
“Undeniable power and poignancy”
The Sydney Morning Herald
Read More
“Punches above its weight”
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General Information

We acknowledge the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation as the traditional custodians of the land on which we work and perform. We honour their elders both past and present, and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

© 2020 Sydney Chamber Opera | Site designed & built by Anderson Chang

Categories
Past Productions

Owen Wingrave

Owen Wingrave

Australian Stage Premiere

Opera in two acts, Op. 85 by Benjamin Britten
Libretto by Myfanwy Piper

Benjamin Britten is the most important British composer of the twentieth century, and is the greatest composer of opera in English. Based on a Henry James ghost story, Owen Wingrave is a statement of Britten’s lifelong pacifism. Composed during the Vietnam War, it is the story of a young soldier from an eminent military family whose anti-war instincts lead him to rebel against his upbringing. Desperate to keep his would-be bride and prove he isn’t a coward, he is forced to confront the ghosts of his ancestry.

The music is Britten at his refined, luminous best, with influences ranging from Gamelan to twelve-tone techniques. Imara Savage returns to Sydney Chamber Opera to direct the work’s Australian stage premiere.

Conductor
Jack Symonds

Director
Imara Savage

Set & Costume Design
Katren Wood

Lighting Design
Ross Graham

With
Morgan Pearse
Georgia Bassingthwaighte
Rowena Cowley
Emily Edmonds
Paul Ferris
Pascal Herington
Simon Lobelson
Kornelia Perchy

Boys’ choir
Boys from Trinity Preparatory School Choir

Mark Agyagasi
Nathan Fok
Massimo Ianni
Alan Kurien
Richard Lee
Shraven Suriyanarayanan
Peter Taurian

Movement ensemble
Tom Christophersen
Luke Holmes
Brenden Hooke
Heath Ivey-Law
Tim Kemp
Ryan Knight
Liam Nunan
Cody Ross
Guy Simon
Edward Skaines

Instruments
Rebecca Gill
Emma Jardine
James Wannan
Mathisha Panagoda
Steven Adler
Jane Bishop
Alex Fontaine
Peter Smith
Long Nguyen
Michael Wray
Emma Bolton
Milo Dodd
Joshua Hill
William Jackson
Stephen Whale

Gallery

VENUE

Carriageworks
Bay 20, 245 Wilson St, Eveleigh

duration

100 minutes

Press Reviews

The Sydney Morning Herald
Read More
“A compelling and tautly structured dramatic statement”
The Australian
Read More
“There was no weak link anywhere”
Limelight
Read More
“Potent, intimate music drama”
TimeOut
Read More
“A perfect marriage of form and content, and about as good as a night at the opera gets. ”
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General Information

We acknowledge the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation as the traditional custodians of the land on which we work and perform. We honour their elders both past and present, and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

© 2020 Sydney Chamber Opera | Site designed & built by Anderson Chang

Categories
Past Productions

Climbing Toward Midnight

CLIMBING TOWARD MIDNIGHT

By Jack Symonds

2013 is the bicentenary of Richard Wagner’s birth, and opera companies around the world are performing his towering music dramas to mark the occasion. Sydney Chamber Opera has developed a more searching tribute: a living composer’s response to his controversial final work Parsifal.

Jack Symonds’ Climbing Toward Midnight is based on Act II of the Wagner, and it explores the aborted romance between the two ill-matched main characters, Parsifal and Kundry. It uses Wagner’s text, however, Symonds’ intimate chamber score is a totally new composition.

Climbing Toward Midnight is a modern parable of obsession and desperation and does not require prior knowledge of Parsifal. Staged by colourful Israeli-Australian director Netta Yashchin, it is a 21st-century reflection on Wagner’s complex legacy.

Conductor-Piano
Jack Symonds

Director
Netta Yashchin

Associate Director
Pierce Wilcox

Set & Costume Design
Jessica O’Neill

Lighting Design
Ross Graham

With
Mitchell Riley
Lucinda-Mirikata Deacon
Maya Gavish

Ensemble
James Wannan
Mee Na Lojewski
Peter Smith

Climbing Toward Midnight is co-commissioned by the Australia Council for the Arts and the Wagner Society in NSW.

Principal Sponsor: The Wagner Society in NSW
NIDA is a supporting partner of Sydney Chamber Opera

 

 

WATCH THE SHOWREEL

Gallery

VENUE

NIDA Parade Theatres
215 Anzac Parade, Kensington

duration

75 minutes

Press Reviews

The Sydney Morning Herald
Read More
“A company sparkling with ideas”
The Australian
Read More
“Simmers with emotional intensity”
Bachtrack
Read More
“Another fascinating production”
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Keep in touch

General Inquiries ​

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General Information

We acknowledge the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation as the traditional custodians of the land on which we work and perform. We honour their elders both past and present, and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

© 2020 Sydney Chamber Opera | Site designed & built by Anderson Chang